(an updated repost from February 2008)
Sometimes, I need absolute silence in order to write, but sometimes there’s something about the distraction of a movie or a CD playing in the background to set the imagination leaping to new connections (and I definitely need to look at the current manuscript with fresh eyes). Whenever I need help with a fantasy story, it’s often the LOTR DVDs or the soundtrack CDs that are called into service.
For action or adventure, I might choose Empire (the miniseries about Tyrannus the gladiator and, oh, yeah, Octavius),The Last of the Mohicans, Rob Roy (history), Braveheart, The Ghost and the Darkness, the Bourne series. Maybe John Woo. (Yeah, I like Hard Boiled.)
For a bit of romance or drama, perhaps Daniel Deronda or Ladyhawke or The Ghost and Mrs. Muir will provide the necessary ambiance. Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights–oh, those Brontes–are for the darker moods. Full of witty laughs and an indulgence in Shakespeare, 10 Things I Hate About You scratches an itch I never knew I had until watching the film for the first time
Mystery or suspense? The Bourne movies again, or Hitchcock, or maybe the first, third, or fourth installments in the Mission:Impossible series. (The motorcycle stuff in the second M:I flick were fun, but the story never grabbed me. And what was with the over-use of masks?) The Illusionist is still fun, and Collateral can still make me tense.
I’ve recently discovered Korean dramas (available on Hulu, DramaFever, Viki, and elsewhere), and have been sucked into the awesome artwork of several anime series. Problem is, I can’t really write and watch/listen at the same time, because I need to read the subtitles. (Note to self: Learn Korean and Japanese.) Still, there are all manner of genres from which to gain inspiration.
Notice how many of these films and series actually cross genres? They don’t necessarily fit one hundred percent in an particular category, and that is part of their appeal. They reach wider audiences because many of them have a little something for everyone. That’s what I want for my own stories: guys, girls, adventure, mystery, romance, action, humor, and more.
Now, back to work.